Friday, March 13, 2009
Friday the 13th: A Tattoosday Adventure
Today has finally arrived. A much-anticipated Friday the 13th. My wife, Melanie's, birthday. She was born on a Friday the 13th, so whenever it falls in March (the last one was in 1998, the next one is in 2015), it's always an event.
This Friday the 13th, I've taken the day off and plan on spending a large chunk of it with Melanie, waiting in line for what has become a New York City tradition: a lucky 13 tattoo courtesy of the good folks at Dare Devil Tattoo. Located on Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side, Dare Devil delivers $13 tattoos every Friday the 13th. They draw up some flash beforehand, and the clients get to choose from a selection of 13-themed, or Dare Devil-specific tattoos. As you'd imagine, they see a ton of customers, so we plan on arriving early to secure a spot.
10:30 AM - We hit the Manhattan Bridge, much later than we had hoped. We'd planned on a 10AM arrival. We're now anticipating a lengthy line.
10:45 AM - We've arrived. Maybe two dozen people ahead of us. The two young women who line up behind us point to a wall twenty feet away and said last month (a rare back-to-back Friday the 13th phenomenon), they lined up there and waited four hours. Best estimate at this point is to be done by 3 PM.
11:05 AM - A guy with a dog announces to the crowd, "We have a minor issue!" The group of two dozen people tenses up. They need us to line up North-South on Ludlow, as opposed to South-North. Apparently the neighboring store owner doesn't like her entrance blocked. Not a big deal. We all move, collectively exhaling. We do note that it is considerably colder out from under the scaffolding to the north. We are 21st and 22nd in line. There are 5 people behind us.
12:30 PM - They finally let in the first 10 people. The temperature has been struggling to get above freezing, and this has affected a little bit of the crowd's morale. However, we are given a reprieve. NYPD has received complaints about the 50+ people on the sidewalk, so a very nice Dare Devil employee named Rebecca takes our cell# and will call us, in about an hour to an hour and a half, by their estimate.
1:15 PM - We are sitting in a warm cafe on Avenue B. Caffeinating and restrooming. Heading back shortly.
2:00 PM - We are waiting across the street from the shop. Still no call....
2:15 PM - Peering in the window, we get our first look at the flash chosen for today's event.
And then, we enter the shop and things move quickly. Melanie fills out the requisite paperwork, we fork over a $20 bill ($13 for the tattoo, $7 for tip) and Rebecca asks Melanie which design she wants:
Understandably, she chooses a small "13". She would have gone for the Yankees logo, but there was no "13" in it. And wasn't that the point? Not to mention #13 is the jersey number of a much-maligned Yankee named Alex Rodriguez. She would have picked the cherry blossom flash, but the absence of the lucky digits was a deal-killer.
She didn't want any of the devils, and the various phallus and other crude designs are inappropriate.
We chatted with the young ladies from earlier in the day and discovered we had a mutual acquaintance, who they knew from school (Pratt).
And then Melanie was up. There was a brief debate about where the tattoo would go, in the middle of the back, or on the wrist. It is small enough that it can pass unnoticed on the wrist, or be covered by a bracelet or watch, should it be appropriate to do so. The wrist it is.
Jason June, the artist, jokes with us, as he tattoos the digits in under a minute. This certainly evens out the average tattoo time for the day, and makes it a quick pay-off for a long wait. The final product is a cute little "13" on the inside of her left wrist:
We walk back up to the front of the store, Rebecca asking Melanie how it went. Smiles all around. We put on our coats. Melanie asks me what time it is. I look at my BlackBerry and say "3:13".
I kid you not.
The stars have aligned and the sun is shining brightly outside. A perfect coda to a New York City tattoo adventure.